The US have preemptively approved a sale of 34 F-35 jets to Belgium.

Last year, Sweden announced it would not be entering Saab’s Gripen E for Belgium’s fighter contest, the country’s defence ministry announced in July last year. Boeing also withdrew its Super Hornet deal.

The deal would be worth  $6.53 billion and would also include electronic warfare system and the Autonomic Logistics Information System.

The proposed foreign military sale includes the aircraft, four spare engines and various communication and navigation systems “to provide Belgium with a credible defense capability to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with U.S. forces,” according to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency statement.

According to Lockheed:

“The F-35 offers unprecedented technology and supportability across the spectrum of military operations and ensures interoperability with key Belgian allies in a continued shared commitment to defense and peacekeeping activities. There are currently more than 200 F-35s flying across the world, and as the fleet continues to expand, the price will continue to decrease – the current life-cycle operating costs are already comparable to today’s 4th Generation fighters.”

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Mark B
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Mark B

Excellent. More sales, increased deterent and Nato allies beginning to fill the gap left by UK as US forces in mainland Europe.

Jack
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Jack

More good news. The F35 is beginning to look like a world leader. And the more ordered the better it is for hi-tech British industry.

Pacman27
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Pacman27

What would be really good is if these were the B variant – so we can have a European force on our carriers.

All said and done the F35 is starting to look like a game changer all round.

Paul.P
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Paul.P

Belgian F-16s are configured to carry the B-61 nuclear weapon so I think they have a political preference for the F-35A. But if we touted an offer of flying F-35B from QE and POW I think that could swing it. Also Typhoon is still in the running I think.

Pacman27
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Pacman27

I was thinking what better way to have a European carrier group and enhance our power post Brexit than have our European partners aircraft on our carrier.

After all each QEC can hold 70+ F35’s so plenty of space.

Would be a great statement of European solidarity

Andrew
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Andrew

The B has a reduced payload because of the different engine configuration.

Ian
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Ian

That’s fine for carrier strike. Stealth will be more important going into contested airspace.

Joe
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Joe

Depends on the ordnance Andrew.

The B will carry the same 8 x Spear-3s as an A model could

Andrew
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Andrew

I’m sure Belgium know what they want and for what role. There need is for European theatre ops. Possibly middle East stuff. They’ve no interest in flying from our carriers

Andrew
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Andrew

Their

John Hartley
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John Hartley

$190m each? Heck of a price. 48% beyond what Belgium has set aside for new fighters.

Steve
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Steve

Any reason stated on why the Gripen / super hornet were withdrawn from the contest?

Elliott
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Elliott

Contests are often held at company cost and even when they aren’t when RFPs become more refined as programs mature. So once a contractor knows the customer is looking for something their aircraft cannot do they often leave. This is usually a face saving gesture so it doesn’t look like they “lost” not because their product isn’t good but just not in the range specified. £100 million Typhoon vs £50 million Super Hornet, not exactly within the same market.

Andrew
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Andrew

Each sale of a 35 means more money for the UK defence industry as we make a large part of each 35.

Farouk
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Farouk

Whilst this is good news regards the numbers of F35s, the US may halt the sale of the jet to Turkey.

David Fulop
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David Fulop

I think that is now certain. Inevitably those Turkish Lightnings would end up in Russian hands.

Pepsi
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Pepsi

The US should never do that mistake to sell the F35 to Turkey. Erdogan the Turkey president is to arrogant and does disrespect the US. His member of NAT0 yet his still forging alliances with Russia and Iran,buying S 400 from Russia,bombing US Allies in Serial.fighting and bullying everybody including the European union.that is why Macron told him that, Turkey can never by a member of the European union but a partner.